Successful snow goose hunting over decoys is largely dependent on current weather conditions. Wind, snow, fog, and anything else that limits a snow gooses ability to exam your decoy spread will surely increase your success. So will hunting on the ‘X’. By ‘X’ I mean the exact spot the geese were feeding or roosting at the day before. Get the weather and location in your favor and you will be well on your way to a successful hunt. But…
Like most hunters chasing snow geese, I am a weekend warrior. I can only hunt 2 out of 7 days. More than likely the weather will not be in my favor. So how can I increase my snow goose kill? Improve on what I can control: decoy selection, call selection, and blind selection.
Snow Goose Decoy Selection:
My decoy trailer has 2 different decoy setups. One is for hunting over ponds and flooded fields that I can drive into. The other spread is for hunting on ponds or flooded fields where I cannot drive an enclosed trailer or when I am hunting in picked feed fields.
If I can drive into the pond or flooded field my decoy spread consists of 8 dozen full bodied snow goose decoys and 5 dozen weighted keel floating snow goose decoys. The ratio of snow to blue goose decoys is 3 to 1. The ratio of snows to blues in the wild is something around 3-2 in the central flyway. I like to have more white in my spread for visibility, so that is why I run a 3-1 ratio of snows to blues. This full bodied and floater goose decoy spread is highly realistic and consistently decoys snows into shotgun range (less than 40 yards). This spread does not have a lot of movement except for the floating goose decoys. The reason this is not an issue is that generally birds roosting on ponds or in flooded fields are not moving that much; they are resting. Snow goose hunting over ponds or flooded fields that I can drive into is my preference. The decoy spread is easy to deploy, highly realistic, and when birds are decoying into the spread they are almost always in range. The negatives of full bodies and floaters are the cost, storage, and having to stake them down in excessive wind.
My muddy pond and feed field decoy spread consists of wind sock style decoys such as northwind decoys. The reason I like these decoys is because they are highly portable and have excellent motion when the wind is greater than 10 mph. I like to deploy at least 300 decoys, with 600 plus preferred. I use a 3-1 ratio of white snow goose decoys to blue goose decoys.
This spread is used when I cannot drive into the pond or when hunting in feed fields. The reason I prefer windsock decoys over full bodies when hunting in a feed field is that feeding geese are always moving, and with the proper wind, the windsocks will be moving. On ponds I cannot drive into and it is too far to walk floaters in, I stake some windsocks right in the water. A windsock spread is not as effective as a full body spread when hunting over water, but sometimes you must compromise as you cannot drive into the field when there is nothing but mud. This is often the case when hunting North and South Dakota in the spring.
A common question I receive regarding decoy selection is why I use so few decoys when hunting over water and so many when hunting in the field. My answer is I always use as many realistic decoys as I can. The less realistic the decoy I am using, the more of them I need when hunting.
My current decoy trailer is a 6×12 enclosed, and it is fully packed with my current numbers of full bodies and floaters. If I could store and afford 10 dozen more full body decoys, it sure would help. Storing 600 windsock style decoys takes only three large plastic bins which takes up very little space.
Snow Goose Call Selection:
Selecting the right call is more important in the spring conservation season than it is during the fall. During the spring conservation season you can use electronic calls and they are a huge advantage. Currently they are not legal during the fall (check your current regulations) . I consider electronic snow goose calls a must have item for spring snow goose hunting and prefer electronic calls that are powered by an mp3 player and an amplifier running 4 speakers. Amplified e-callers are much louder than conventional electronic predator calls and the ability to run 4 speakers lets you spread the sound out throughout in every direction of your decoy spread. I prefer to have the speaker pointing downwind at approaching geese fairly close to the hunters blinds as decoying snows tend to focus on the call. The other speakers are pointing in random directions (make sure every direction is covered), with one pointing vertical in the middle of the spread.
Selecting the correct snow goose sound for your electronic call is very critical to your snow goose hunting success. I strictly use the “Snow Talker” electronic snow goose call recordings by Performance Calls. These snow goose recordings have proven extremely effective on spring snows due to the recording’s incredible realism and clarity. Other recordings on the market are recorded too far away from the feeding geese so it sounds like a snow goose flock at a distance. Many recordings can attract snows to within 100 yards, but to finish them below that 40 yard mark, your electronic call must be playing the individual honks, murmurs and feeding sounds those snows expect to hear from a flock on the ground. What the snow geese do not expect to hear, but is commonly found on other snow goose recordings on the market are the sounds of airplanes, wind noise, tweedy birds, humans speaking, or the racket of humans playing snow goose calls. Don’t let the huge advantage an electronic call gives you go to waste during the spring season by playing a poorly recorded sound in your electronic call. MP3’s, CD’s, and tapes are relatively inexpensive yet can play an extremely important role in your success or failure of decoying snow geese.
Selecting a conventional style snow goose call is fairly simple. Any major sporting goods store sells snow goose calls, and your short reed Canada goose call can easily double as a snow goose call by tuning it to be a little higher pitched. Conventional calling is very effective on singles and small flocks. If a snow goose barks at you as it circles above, bark back immediately. This constant dialogue will often pull that bird in. We all know that once one bird commits, the flock follows.
I prefer to use layout blinds when hunting snow geese. The blinds are very portable, low profile, and when properly camouflaged with natural vegetation all but disappear. They are also very comfortable and will keep you warm. When I cannot use a layout blind I prefer to surround myself in a tight pod of decoys. I use them to break up my human outline. If the birds are flaring, 9 out of 10 times lack of concealment is the problem. For more information on hunting blinds visit goose hunting blind selection.
The above suggestions will help you consistently decoy more snow geese. For more goose and duck hunting tips please read other articles located at duck and goose hunting tips.